Meet Our Team

Sterling J. Gildersleeve has over 30 years of experience in the field of alcoholism and substance abuse treatment and recovery services with experience in providing management services in halfway house, residential extended care, and sober housing programs. Sterling is a past President of the National Association of Halfway Houses and Recovery Homes (AHHAP) and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Illinois Association of Extended Care (IAEC). Sterling also served as Co-Chairman of the Housing Committee of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. Sterling holds a Bachelor of Science in Social Work, is a State of Illinois Certified Alcohol/Drug Counselor, a Nationally Certified Recovery Specialist, a Certified HIV Education & Addiction Counselor and a United States Air Force Veteran.

Sterling J. Gildersleeve, President





Celestine Gildersleeve serves as Vice President and CEO of Phoenix Recovery Support Services. With 20 years experience in substance abuse services, and an additional 6 years in customer service, product promotion, event planning and recruitment, Celeste brings considerable expertise; and many valuable contacts to her volunteer work and community service.Celestine has served as Regional Director, Secretary, Treasurer, Conference and Committee Chairperson and member for AHHAP (National Association of Halfway House & Alcoholism Programs), IAEC (Illinois Association of Extended Care), Women’s Housing Committee State of Illinois, among others.Celeste holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management with an emphasis in Social Services from Trinity University.

Celestine Gildersleeve, Vice President





Vauna has over 20 years of Operations, Human Resources and Transitional Housing Experience.  In 2000 Vauna made the decision to leave corporate recruiting and follow her passion to work in transitional housing by starting a career at one of the largest state licensed recovery homes in the Chicagoland area.  There she served as the Intake Coordinator, the Program Manager for Pride housing, the IDOC programs and finally a women’s facility on the Northwest side. Her passion is providing solutions for organizations by building infrastructure through technology, compliance and people. In 2017 Vauna Launched StartUp HR where her specialty is consulting with transitional housing facilities, startup businesses, sole proprietorships and non-profit organizations. Ms. Hernandez has consulted with licensed recovery homes, tech companies, dental offices, non-profit organizations and social enterprises in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.

Vauna’s life goal is to do her part to build organizations that provide opportunities for underserved communities and the people who live in them.  “There is no greater satisfaction in life than to offer opportunities to someone and watch their lives transform.  We are not meant to live in the world alone, we all need each other and we all need just that little bit of help that will push us over those barriers that will allow us to succeed.”

Vauna is a Society of Human Resources Management Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) as well as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR). Vauna is an active member of the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) and in early 2017 Vauna was identified by SHRM as a subject matter expert on Situational Leadership. Vauna also serves on the SHRM Advocacy Team.

Vauna Hernandez, PHR, SHRM-CP, Executive Director